Saturday, May 4, 2013

Diva delivers fun, flair and doggie love in downtown San Francisco

San Francisco's inventive Personality Hotels offers a stylish flash drive "bracelet" of images and information, including this. 

Your welcome to Hotel Diva begins with a greeting at the front door!

Delightfully daring, centrally located, artful, elegant, eye-catching -- and dog friendly.
It's San Francisco's Hotel Diva.
What a find for people who like the ambiance of a European-style boutique hotel.  Add to its merits character, convenience and the ability to check in with your doggies. It's an irresistible package!
We were attracted to Diva by travel-writing friends, who praised it for its blend of trendy and traditional, fun-loving
The Diva attracts a mix of
well traveled, fun-loving,
return clients.
and formal, yet with a sense of tease and playfulness. The Diva staff likes what it's doing and it shows at every turn! That's insightful management.
The fun begins at the entryway, where performers as varied as Chita Rivera, Leontine Price and Joan Rivers have written love notes, thank-yous and left their hand prints in the cement.
The Diva's hand prints out front boast celebrity kudos.
The place is dog and diva friendly!
But fellas are also welcome, and enjoy the hotel's frisky decor.  Keller immediately began photographing the fetching window shades -- they feature sexy women's legs -- and we enjoyed the black and white window accents, headboard and vanity, all evoking the feeling of a tuxedo affair.  We also partook of Perrier and sake offered in the lobby, made use of the free wi-fi in room, and appreciated the helpful concierge, receptionists and check-in staff who couldn't do enough for us and fussed over our Yorkies, Nick and Nora.  They reconfirmed our Hornblower cruise, giving us personalized maps and walking directions to the pier. The staff also cheerily lined up dinner reservations and play tickets across the street.
The Dashiell Hammett suite awaits in Hotel Union Square.
For theater lovers both the Geary and American Conservatory Theater are steps away. We saw an energetic world premier, "Stuck Elevator," then took a romantic stroll for a nightclub near Union Square. So many choices -- bars and nightclubs and dozens of restaurants from Thai to Japanese, upscale Mexican and Continental.  For nearby food in a hurry, there's a fine deli with excellent corned beef, Middle East take-out and pizza by the slice.There's a Starbucks next door for morning java and pastry.
 The Diva, though, is worth a stay on its own, apart from location and the abundance of offerings just  steps from the door.  We were immediately welcomed; the spirit continued to a chance meeting with the boss. 
 The stately Steinhart is a Personality hotel.
The charming brainchild of Personality Hotels is its president and CEO Yvonne Lembi-Detert, whom we met in the lobby one afternoon.  She's a lively, smart, hands-on hotelier, daughter of a a hotel owner.  The acorn apparently fell close to the tree. When Yvonne was just 22, she expressed interest in her dad's make-over plans for a hotel he'd just purchased.   Her curiosity, questions  and comments won his approval to delve into his hotel design project.  She threw herself into the "redo" and Hotel Union Square reopened in 1982, 31 years ago as San Francisco's first boutique hotel. (There are dozens now; hers was first.)
Yvonne's sense of style and innovation are apparent in all her  properties.  Besides Diva, Hotel Union Square, the original "Personality" place, has a film noir, romantic feeling with a speakeasy flair.  Brick walls, Egyptian style mosaics and richly colored drapes and spreads give a textured appeal to the place. One of the suites is named for famed novelist Dashiell Hammett, who loved and wrote about San Francisco.
Kensington Park Hotel, housed in a 1925 Gothic-style building, celebrates the Queen Anne period in a decor
Personality Hotel's artistic and savvy CEO, mother of two,
puts definite personality into this Diva kid-friendly suite.
of marble floors, intricately painted ceilings, rich mahogany and other period graces.  It, too, overlooks Union Square, while Diva is a block away from the delightful central landmark.
The Steinhart, like its three sister hotels, has its own sense of drama and comfort.   Designed for longer stays, it boasts studio and one-bedroom apartments.  Its touches include beautiful patios, right out of a Tuscany postcard, flocked wallpaper and a bird cage elevator. Personality Hotels also owns the lovely seaside retreat Mariposa Inn and Suites in Monterey, if you fancy a unique get-away a couple hours south!
Yvonne's design degree and European sensibilities, honed no doubt from a lifetime of travel, shine through in her creations.  She also picks top architects and designers, who share her sense of flair, fun and daring.
Nick and Nora await their owners, who are fetching
the champagne for a toast to San Francisco!
And the native San Franciscan personally visits one or more of the properties each day!
"Guests who stay at our hotels know they're going to get not just a personalized look and feel, but a personalized experience," says Yvonne. It's true. We'll be back.
COMING NEXT: We wrap up our San Francisco tribute with a look at some of the city's famous sights and eye-catching attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, vintage houses and a heart painted by singer Tony Bennett. Remember to explore, learn and live! And read our posts Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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